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A La Carte

  • McMullen Gallery 8440 112 Street Northwest Edmonton Canada (map)

Artwork by Marc Siegner
Show Dates: May 6- June 2, 2019
Opening Reception: May 10, 7-9pm

Materiality, texture, culinary culture, cultural migration and boundaries all figure prominently in this body of work and in my studio practice. I am happy to share with you a glimpse of, a snap shot of, what interests me at this point in my trajectory.

In “a la carte” I present a series of vignettes in which I pair a food cart with a location, most likely a street where I can imagine such a combination, possibly a place where the cart was or is located. The carts have evolved since I started imagining these not-quite-life-sized al-fresco street kitchens and have become meditations on the essence and materiality of cardboard, something so ubiquitous, very much a part of our Amazon life-style. The bas-relief wall element, the street personified, is another exercise in observation, being aware of something so common place it is often discounted, ignored, taken for granted and seldom elevated above our feet. The combination of what is essentially packaging (recycled as garbage and discarded) and the severely mundane will hopefully give us a moment to pause and consider, reflecting upon a shadowy part of our existence and our habits.

 Food, or rather culinary culture can be seen as a form of cultural tourism and thanks to the likes of Anthony Bourdain something to be experienced and celebrated, adding depth and texture to our human experience. Tourism exists side by side with migration and immigration and weather you consider it a melting pot or multiculturalism or as assimilation, the great diaspora has none-the-less given us a cornucopia to excite and titillate the senses.

 On one hand there is a question of our identity. In an ever-evolving Global Mélange ripe with issues of displacement, refugees of all kinds, issues of boarders and containment including walls both physical and ideological and the reconciliation of a variety of structural inequalities at all levels. The idea of ordering individual dishes, “ a la carte” as opposed to a “set menu” provides a conceptual backdrop for a conversation about the sometimes-stark contrast between immigrants of means and those without, displaced workers, victims of social change, those left behind and those simply unable to adapt. On the other hand there is the question of cultural migration and appropriation as we adapt and incorporate an ongoing global movement and the challenges that this brings to host nations, including racism, discrimination, interracial hybridity, cosmopolitanism and transnational expansionism.

The food cart is one place where the dialogue is more easily digested and a place where the barriers and boundaries are suddenly and eagerly consumed only to be replaced by acceptance and an acknowledgement that is easily understood by all cultures and seasoned with a smile.

Written by Marc Siegner

Later Event: May 8
Drum Circle